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Slab Leak Detection and Repair
How do you know if you have slab leaks? You might be surprised to learn that slab leaks are the cause of most plumbing problems in your home. They could be located just below the foundation or within your walls, and they can make your water bill skyrocket even if they’re not directly responsible for your high water bill (though they usually are).
Slab leak detection and repair aren’t necessarily a do-it-yourself project, so if you suspect you have slab leaks in your home, contact a plumber right away. Read on to learn more about how to find and repair slab leaks at home.
How to Spot a Slab Leak
Slab leaks are notoriously difficult to spot, especially for non-professionals. However, there are some telltale signs that may indicate a slab leak.
One of these is damage or wear on your house’s foundation. If you notice cracks in plaster or your walls, call in a slab leak specialist immediately—this can be an indicator of broken pipes under your home’s foundation. Another common sign is wet soil around your home; if you see puddles near your property’s foundations after it rains, it could be due to slab leaks. If these symptoms aren’t present, there are other ways to spot a slab leak.
A professional plumber will first use an electronic locator device called a water tracer to track down where a pipe is leaking under your foundation. If you want peace of mind that a leaky pipe has been found and fixed, have a slab leak specialist do a moisture test—this entails drilling into your house’s foundation while another technician inserts gauges at several locations along each side of your house in order to measure any moisture or water level changes at depth as they drill. This type of testing is also helpful for spotting mold or water damage in hidden areas behind walls or under sinks and bathtubs.
The Leaking Pipe MethodUsing a pressure gauge and snake, turn off your water valve at the source. Locate your meter box under a sidewalk or outside your house near an exterior wall. If you don’t know where it is, contact your local utility company for help locating it. After turning off your water supply from inside, look around outside to make sure no one has accidentally turned on their sprinklers or other outside devices that use water.
If you’re not sure whether a particular item is supposed to be using water, turn it off just in case—you don’t want leaks contributing to unnecessary costs! If you see any signs of recent landscaping activity (such as fresh mud) or if there are storm drains near where you think your slab might be broken, call a plumber immediately.
The Water Meter MethodIf you suspect a slab leak, experts recommend using a water meter to determine if you really have a problem. To begin, simply turn off all water in your home at both inside and outside faucets. Then take note of how much water is used during a twenty-four hour period, or for one full day. Make sure that everyone living in your home knows not to use any water during that time either.
This should be repeated over several days so you can get an accurate reading on average usage. Once you know what kind of water usage is normal for your home, it’s easier to identify a slab leak when it happens.
The Location Method
If you already have access to your foundation, inspect for obvious signs of slab leaks. Visible water damage, water stains or cracks in walls or floors could be a sign of a slab leak; if so, hire a pro to investigate.
If you can’t get down into your foundation, hire a professional inspector to look for water damage; they may also have tools that allow them to view your foundation without having to enter it.
How much does it cost?
Before you begin, it’s important to understand that slab leaks aren’t like other common plumbing problems. Slab leaks happen below your house, not above it. When you need slab leak repairs, you won’t be able to use a plunger or snake; you have to rely on expert help from a professional who specializes in slab leak repairs and prevention.
While slab leaks are rare, they do happen; any time there is water damage that doesn’t look like it was caused by a typical plumbing problem it’s possible that there is a slab leak issue that needs fixing. The sooner you get help with these issues when they happen, the less damage your home will sustain as a result of slab leaks. The cost of slabs leak repairs will vary depending on how deep down the leaking water goes and how much damage has been caused by it.
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